The former Carnegie Library in the North Side's Allegheny Center was the focus of a community meeting at the New Hazlett Theater
last week to plan its preservation and reuse.
The New Hazlett Theater, which is housed in the same building as the library, received a Community Design Center of Pittsburgh
grant in the fall of 2009 to create plans for the 65,000-square-foot,
120-year-old building's future needs. The library still uses the
Allegheny Center space as a book depository, but will fully vacate the
space in December of 2010, leaving the New Hazlett as the building's
only tenant--"so we're being proactive," says the theater's executive
director, Sara Radelet.
The building, which also currently houses a senior citizen center, previously housed the Carnegie Library (which reopened this summer in its new brand-new Loysen + Kreuthmeier-designed home at 1230 Federal St.) and Pittsburgh Public Theater
(which occupied the space from the 1970s until 1999, when it relocated
Downtown). The New Hazlett Theater was founded as nonprofit in 2004
with the mission to "cultivate the arts and provide a venue for world
class and neighborhood cultural events." In 2004, the building
underwent more than $2 million worth of renovations, designed by EDGE studio, with Turner Construction serving as contractor.
The theater has engaged Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects
to develop preliminary programming recommendations and plans for the
structure. As a first step in the process, last week's community
meeting focused on identifying community goals for the reuse of the
building, and looked to identify other potential partners. Ideas
included creating a community commercial kitchen, a shared office space
for nonprofit startups, and leasing the space to a university. The New
Hazlett is interested in using a portion of the space for rehearsals
Current partners in
the library planning project include the New Hazlett, the City of
Pittsburgh, the Children's Museum and the Warhol Museum, and the
development team, led by Loysen + Kreuthmeier, includes Watson
Engineering, Iams Consulting and Sota Construction Services, Inc.
goals are the reduction of utility costs, and addressing code and
accessibility issues. Making sure the building stays accessible to the
public is also key. Future community meetings will include review of
programming ideas, initial reuse options and a presentation of the
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Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Sara Radelet, executive director, New Hazlett Theater; Karen Loysen and Sallyann Kluz, Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects
Photograph courtesy New Hazlett Theater